Financial Stress Affects a Majority of Employees

Financial stress affects 75% of employees, according to a study by GuideSpark. Employees surveyed said that the following areas give them the most financial stress:

  • 69% Saving enough to meet retirement goal.
  • 68% Having enough cash savings to cover the employee and their family if one loses their job.
  • 63% Being financially prepared for expected life changing events (i.e. marriage, new child, job change.

The study also reveals the following:

  • 81% employees are less likely to leave a company that helps them improve their financial standing.
  • 87% of Millennials expect employers to help them prepare for their financial future.
  • 78% of employees would chose to join a company that offers financial health benefits over one that doesn’t.
  • 81% of employees are less likely to leave a company helps them improve their financial standing.

Employees say these are the top benefits of a financial wellness program:

  • 81% Reduce financial stress
  • 76% Appreciate their company more
  • 65% Lower their healthcare costs
  • 62% Improve their physical health
  • 56% Enable them to focus more on their jobs

The Majority of Uninsured Americans Have a Chronic Condition

Sixty-two percent of Americans have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition, according to a survey commissioned by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies. The most common conditions are being overweight, having high blood pressure, and having high cholesterol. The study finds the following:

  • 82% of Americans say they can afford routine health expenses compared to 41% of the uninsured. However, 41% report an increase in premium costs over the past one to two years.
  • 71% say they can afford a $100 monthly premium.
  • 66% say they can’t afford a premium of $300 or more per month.
  • Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the number of uninsured Americans has dropped from 21% in 2013 to 11% in 2015.
  • 82% of Americans are very or somewhat satisfied with the healthcare system, compared to 73% in November 2013.
  • The most common reason cited among for not getting health coverage is low awareness of the ACA insurance mandate (26%). Eighteen percent do not know how to apply, and 21% are willing to pay the tax penalty for not having health insurance.
  • 30% of  Americans say the ACA directly affected their health coverage; those who did tended to report a positive effect.
  • 48% have no strong opinion of the ACA.
  • White Americans (67%) are most likely to are diagnosed with a chronic health condition.
  • African Americans have the highest rates of high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes (24% and 10%, respectively).
  • At 41%, Asian Americans are the least likely to have a chronic health condition.

A Majority Opposes the Cadillac Tax & the Medical Device Tax

Congressional lawmakers have discussed repealing the Cadillac Tax. This provision of the Affordable Care Act helps pay for other provisions of the law. Starting in 2018, the Cadillac Tax imposes a tax on higher cost employer-sponsored health plans. Since the public has a generally unfavorable view of taxes, it’s not surprising that 60% oppose the Cadillac tax, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. When those opposed to the tax are told that it could help lower health care costs, 27% change their minds to favor the tax, pushing support to 55%. When those who favor the tax are told that it’s likely to cause employees to face higher deductibles and co-pays, 15% change their minds to oppose the law, pushing opposition to 75%. Arguments about how many employers would be affected by the tax in 2018 and 2028 are less persuasive. Fifty-seven percent of Americans favor repealing the medical device tax, which applies to manufacturers of medical devices, such as artificial joints and pacemakers

Majority of Workers Feel Responsible To Save for Their Retirement

Seventy-eight percent of workers say it’s their responsibility to save for their retirement. Also, 84% of defined contribution plan participants say it’s their responsibility to save for their retirement, according to a LIMRA survey. The survey also found the following:

  • 77% say that all workers should have access to a retirement savings plan at work and that these plans offer an effective way to save for retirement.
  • 60% say that those who save in a defined contribution retirement plan are likely to achieve a secure retirement.
  • 85% of defined contribution plan participants say these plans provide an effective way to save for retirement. Thirty percent say that their defined contribution plan savings will represent the primary source of retirement income.
  • 50%  of defined contribution plan participants and nearly 40% of plan participants under 45 say that savings in their defined contribution plans will be their primary source of retirement income.
  • 45% of workers who participate in their defined contribution retirement plan are more confident that they will realize their chosen retirement lifestyle compared to 32% of non-participating workers.

Majority of new enrollees lacked insurance before shopping under ACA

Close to 60% of enrollees in Affordable Care Act health plans previously lacked coverage, according to new data. Some observers have questioned whether the law simply moved previously insured people into new plans, rather than benefiting the uninsured as was intended. Kaiser Health News (6/19)

The Majority of Employers Violate ERISA

Seventy one percent of brokers surveyed by www.hr360.com say that their business clients don’t provide summary-plan documents or maintain plan documents, which are two major requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The following are top reasons brokers cited for employers not adhering to these two basic ERISA requirements:

  • They thought they were compliant by distributing benefit booklets/summaries.
  • They were not aware of the ERISA requirements.
  • It was too expensive, difficult, and time consuming to develop the documents.

Many companies assume that insurance contracts, certificates of insurance, and benefit summaries fulfill the ERISA requirements for a summary-plan document and plan document, but they don’t include the required or recommended provisions that protect the plan and the employer. Employers/plan administrators may be subject to the following serious penalties:

  • Failure to provide a summary-plan document or plan document within 30 days of receiving a request from a plan participant or beneficiary can result in a penalty of up to $110/day per participant or beneficiary for each violation.
  • Lack of a summary-plan document could trigger a plan audit by the U.S. Dept. of Labor (DOL).

As DOL has increased its audit staff, more small and large companies are being audited. For more information, visit www.hr360.com.

Majority of Uninsured Plan to Get Insurance

Fifty-five percent of uninsured Americans would buy insurance rather than pay a fine, according to a Gallup poll in February. That’s similar to January’s results, but down from as high as 63% last Fall. As some previously uninsured Americans move into the insured pool, the remaining uninsured have shown the most reluctance to get insurance. This helps explain why the percentage of uninsured Americans who say they intend to buy insurance has dropped in the most recent months.

At the same time, American attitudes toward the ACA remain negative, which may suggest that some uninsured Americans’ reluctance to get insurance reflects their dislike of the ACA and the law’s requirements. Other uninsured Americans may simply have become more hardened over time in their negative attitudes toward the prospect of getting insurance.

Still, the possibility that more than half of Americans who remain uninsured say they will purchase health insurance offers some positive news for supporters of Obamacare. It also suggests that the number of uninsured Americans may continue to decline as the March 31 deadline approaches, after which they will have to pay a fine if they don’t have insurance.

More than half of the uninsured who plan to get insurance say they will get it from an exchange, a percentage that has been higher this year than in the last three months of 2013. Still, the news on the exchange front is not all positive. Uninsured Americans who have visited an exchange are about twice as likely to rate their experience negatively as positively, similar to their ratings last fall. Some people who had positive experiences with the exchanges in past months likely got insurance, and therefore are no longer included in the uninsured pool in Gallup’s ongoing tracking. Still, the fact that only a third of the uninsured in February who visited the exchanges had a positive experience suggests that significant problems remain despite the Obama administration’s massive effort to fix issues with the federal exchange website.

The majority of those who plan to get insurance say they will do it through a state or federal health insurance exchange, although to date, the uninsured evaluate the experiences they have had with the exchanges quite negatively. Exchange activity may pick up in the coming weeks as the government’s March 31 deadline for having insurance approaches. Once that deadline passes, it may be clearer how much progress the Obama administration’s efforts to expand health insurance have made. For more information visit www.gallup.com.

Last Updated 05/25/2022

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